Prior to the 2020 MLB trade deadline, it was clear the A's needed to acquire a top-of-the-rotation pitcher if they wanted to compete for the World Series title.
Texas Rangers ace Lance Lynn arguably was the best pitcher available, but the A's instead traded for his teammate, Mike Minor.
That minor move didn't move the needle enough, and the A's eventually fell in the American League Division Series to the rival Houston Astros.
The A's had a second chance to acquire Lynn this offseason. In November, MLB Trade Rumors suggested Lynn in connection with the A's, and it made sense since the 33-year-old only is signed through the 2021 season.
But the Rangers traded Lynn to the White Sox on Monday night, the New York Post's Joel Sherman and ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported.
The White Sox reportedly are sending top pitching prospect Dane Dunning and left-handed minor league pitcher Avery Weems to the Rangers in exchange for Lynn.
Dunning is a steep price for the White Sox to pay for one year of Lynn, but Chicago believes it is good enough to win the World Series, so adding the veteran righty to their rotation makes them even more dangerous in 2021.
If Dunning was the price of doing business with the Rangers, the A's likely would have had a hard time matching that offer, as their farm system isn't nearly as strong.
With Lynn off the board, the A's will have to look elsewhere to bolster their rotation.
While Chris Bassitt, Jesús Luzardo, Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas are set to return next season, Oakland needs to add one or two more steady arms this offseason. Mike Fiers is a free agent and Minor signed with the Kansas City Royals.
The A's are hoping top prospect A.J. Puk can join the rotation, but he has battled arm injuries the last few years, so he's not a safe bet at this point.
Oakland likely doesn't have the financial flexibility to sign free agent Trevor Bauer, and the A's don't have the prospects to offer a competitive package for Blake Snell, so they will have to turn to the free-agent market to fill out the rotation.
Tyler Anderson, Chris Archer, Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, Rick Porcello, Jose Quintana, Jeff Samardzija, Julio Teheran, Taijuan Walker and Alex Wood are just some of the interesting names on the free agent market that could make sense for the A's on short-term deals.
The MLB offseason has been slow to develop, but the 2020 Winter Meetings were supposed to take place in Dallas, Texas this week. So this is the time when moves start happening. The Cincinnati Reds traded closer Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels earlier on Monday, and the Rangers and White Sox agreed to the Lynn trade a few hours later.
If the market heats up enough, the A's could wind up with a new member of their starting rotation by the end of the week.